Dear Halo 4 QA tester: We don’t need to strike because you’re a flake
First off, working on quality assurance can definitely be a way to get some great experience in the gaming industry, and can sometimes lead to bigger and better jobs. The idea that you should never, never work in this area, or that there needs to be a strike, or that you should never sign a contract, are all complete bullshit. The fact is, the person who wrote this article is a flake.
First, I think you should go read the piece in question, and see what happens when expectations meet hard reality. Every job in video gaming has a line of people waiting to take it, and you will be abused at the lower end of the spectrum. Hell, you'll be abused at the higher end of the spectrum. Make peace with that idea that chasing this dream requires some serious sacrifices, and that's likely not going to change any time soon.
This guy failed to make a major dent in music, and then moved into gaming because he thought he was good at Battlefield. He knew, KNEW, that he would be a valued member of any team, and he would rapidly move up to the ranks. He gets angry that he has to do many different tasks, although that's often part of the job. He gets mad that management doesn't allow them to be unprofessional on chat programs. He gets mad that he doesn't get the raise he thinks he so honestly deserves. He stops coming into work during his last two weeks. He seems to think that someone liking an idea puts him on the path to being a designer.
Guess what? This is a shitty business for people who decided to give it a go because they couldn't make music work. You need to spend years proving yourself, remaining flexible, working long hours, and dealing with the shit pay. That's the path of QA, and it's pretty miserable. If you want to jump in at another point you need to learn a skill, put together a portfolio, and start making games yourself. That approach can be just as helpful, if not moreso, than the right degree. And you can start today. Right now.
The truth is that quality assurance is pretty much the lowest rung on the ladder you can imagine, but it is a path. A path that has no tolerance for people walking in expecting to rocket right up the chain, or for people who complain about issues without offering solutions. You're upset about the culture? Do something about it. Speak out. Don't just sit there, stew, and say that you're above this job and no one else should ever take it.
I'm thinking the author of this piece is about 18 months away from writing another article about why the next industry that didn't see his obvious genius is broken. QA is no place for dabblers or ego, and it has nothing to do with the contract.